St. Sylvester I
When you think of this pope, you think of the Edict of Milan, the emergence of the Church from the catacombs, the building of the great basilicas, Saint John Lateran, Saint Peter's and others, the Council of Nicaea and other critical events. But for the most part, these events were planned or brought about by Emperor Constantine.
A great store of legends has grown up around the man who was pope at this most important time, but very little can be established historically. We know for sure that his papacy lasted from 314 until his death in 335. Reading between the lines of history, we are assured that only a very strong and wise man could have preserved the essential independence of the Church in the face of the overpowering figure of the Emperor Constantine. The bishops in general remained loyal to the Holy See and at times expressed apologies to Sylvester for undertaking important ecclesiastical projects at the urging of Constantine.
It takes deep humility and courage in the face of criticism for a leader to stand aside and let events take their course, when asserting one's authority would only lead to useless tension and strife. Sylvester teaches a valuable lesson for Church leaders, politicians, parents and others in authority.
To emphasize the continuity of Holy Orders, the recent Roman breviary in its biographies of popes ends with important statistics. On the feast of Saint Sylvester it recounts: "He presided at seven December ordinations at which he created 42 priests, 25 deacons and 65 bishops for various sees." The Holy Father is indeed the heart of the Church's sacramental system, an essential element of its unity.
Daily Prayer - 2015-12-31
Dear Lord, you have called me by my name.
Lord, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally,
The Word of the Lord
Reading 1 1 Jn 2:18-21
Children, it is the last hour;
Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Alleluia Jn 1:14a, 12a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word,
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Dear Lord, stay by my side always.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
7th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord
He was in the beginning with God. (John 1:2)
John's Gospel begins with a beautiful hymn describing "the Word," which was with God since the very beginning. Any Jewish people reading this passage would have recognized this idea. In the creation story told in Genesis, God "speaks" things into existence—"Let there be light... . Let the earth bring forth vegetation," and so on (Genesis 1:3, 11). It's a sign of God's creative power that every single word he utters brings forth something new, vibrant, and wondrous. That's how powerful God's Word is!
But as familiar as the idea of God's creative word must have been, John introduces a whole new revelation: God's Word is not only creative, it's not only powerful, and it's not only eternal. The Word of God is a Person. John wrote that he was with God in the beginning, not it was with God in the beginning. Then John went even further to say that this Person came and dwelt among us: Jesus, the Messiah!
You may have heard the biblical phrase "the Alpha and the Omega" (Revelation 21:6; 22:13). It's a way of talking about how Jesus was at the very beginning of everything and will be at the very end. It's another way of saying he is the first word and the last word of creation.
We're at the end of 2015. Can you see how he was there with you throughout the year? We're also on the cusp of 2016. Can you now expect him to be with you from the very first millisecond after the clock strikes midnight?
When the Word of God is present, he is active, not just a spectator! He is always speaking new life, forgiveness, guidance, and renewal. He is always speaking redirection, encouragement, insight, and love. The sun rises on a new year because he gladly calls it to. And if anything has fallen into darkness in the past year, he only has to speak, and light will shine on it in the year to come.
So with gratitude, thank Jesus for all the blessings of 2015; with trust, surrender to him its sorrows and disappointments; and with hope, ask him, the Alpha and Omega, to speak words of grace into the year to come.
"Word of God, let this day of endings and beginnings be a reminder of your constant presence."
1 John 2:18-21
Came For Testimony
From today's 1st Holy Scripture with (my insight): "Children, it is the last hour", it is the end of the year, but is it the end of your life? Is this it? Is this going to be a year of decisions? And judgements? Lest our Lord declare we have been found wanting, lacking.
"...and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." The announcement of the antichrist has been proclaimed throughout the bible, scriptures from beginning to end recount an adversary. Many antichrists have come and we don't even notice who they've been, much less who they will be. They are the ones that serve to detract you from holiness, the sincere truth, especially that of a Holy Church that joins us to Christ intimately. They are the ones who ask you to serve them, instead of HIM, our Lord and Savior.
"But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge." You have the knowledge that was purely granted to Adam and Eve, the first chosen for God our Lord. You have the sufficient knowledge to go forth and live in His Presence, His blessed Presence in the world, and you have been told where you can find Him always. Our annointing is a clear desire of our Lord to be one with Him in His flock, a flock that He shepherds.
"I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth." You know the truth, and what is against the truth then...is a lie. Sins are against the truth. Against the truth means...against our Lord...an antichrist spirit that also permeates, which a new life calls for a full life of truth, no room for anti-truth.
We pray the Psalms "Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands." What new song? Find it, write it, how and where? In your heart...let the Holy Spirit write. It will be a timeless masterpiece because it will be offered to the Master of Heaven. It's like the value of the gift my child gives me, a scribbled and colored drawing, done with great love, the message given, the heart given is worth more than any store bought gift could've brought to the heart.
"Sing to the LORD; bless his name; announce his salvation, day after day." This tells us how to bless His name: day after day announce His Salvation!
"Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice" and one of the heavens takes place now with His holy presence among us NOW!
OUr Lord Jesus comes in to our lives today "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God". What a profound theological truth, the Son of God was with Him. Time has no hold on our Lord. And we cherish time, measure everything in time, road trips, work periods, and even the minutes at church...yet it is worthless, what is so precious here is worthless with Him because it is not measured, immeasurable at best. So lose yourself and be with the WORD! ALWAYS.
"What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." What came to be through HIM was LIFE. When life happens, it is precious, and is to be revered, the dignity of human life. Unlike those that give their lives to death, our Lord offers life to life, grace in place of grace. Darkness even death can not overcome our Lord, it has no hold on HIM! AMAZING! When I see dead persons, I don't see the true person, because the true person is in the soul. My dad passed away when electrocuted along with his cousin by powerlines. He experienced himself leaving his body, and saw his body on the ground and said "that's not me, everyone is going to think that is me!" LIfe is more than we think and much more than we make it, the value, the care, the love and that is why Jesus our Lord insisted we take care of His little ones...poor in material and in spirit. Money means nothing, because it is a means, yet the value we have faith in? You tell me, for a whole new year has begun!
"He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him." The story of the owner of the vineyard sending his only Son to take back what was His shows what we did to the owner and son...killed it out of our lives. You kill it easy. Kill time. Kill relationships. Kill with words of anger, spite, and worse. Kill the faith out of your soul, the gift from God. You see, before the killing of a body begins, it had long ago started in the heart. Immeasurable is the mercy of the Lord, because this atrocity has depraved the world He came to save with the light of life. If the world fails to recognize the Lord, it is not because He is unfaithful. You see, only the faithful can see, the pure of heart, holy...all that the antichrist blurs with darkness.
"And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" and no better place is this evident than the manifestation of the Lord in our world. There was a young girl at our family Christmas gathering we weren't expecting, a relative of an in-law. I noticed her looking at all the kids opening presents and she had no presents to open. I did not feel pity, but moved. As the party went on, and she was cleaning tables, I asked her "is that phone you got a smartphone?" she said yes and I left to my truck, santa clause vehicle, and got a gift that would work with her smart phone but more importantly wrote a note which at one point said "if you have ever experienced love, you have experienced GOD!" They opened the gift from a little bag, and were moved and were grateful. The whole point being...you've got to experience this GOD thing every single moment of your life. Not just on Sunday, not just reading this now, but from this moment on...SING A NEW SONG! Be converted. The flesh converts into love. The Eucharist converts into flesh, and so much more inside our soul! The wonder of life is manifested all over again and again!
"But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God." Being born again, means conversion, means surrendering to God, means not crawling back into your mother's womb, but to be born out of this world, being made His. This is how I explain baptism, being born into His KINGDOM! And He gives power to the baptized soul, to have the ability to proclaim the truth that has been given as our only source of hope...JESUS.
"...because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." Laws are one thing, but Jesus, the fulfilling of the laws is everything. I ask you then, to fill your life with Christ. With more confessions, more testimonies, more Eucharist. I witnessed through the glass windows as we did choir practice, they were having daily Mass. As we sung a communion song, they were actually taking the Holy Communion, and my eyes were tricking my mind, for what I was witnessing seemed like people coming up to be healed. Indeed, through His wounds we are healed and it is said the Eucharist is His body, and soul offering to us. I ask you then to partake of this wondrous gift. If only I could go on my knees all the way to the altar, yet we go like a bride, that is to be dressed in white...purity, holiness to make a great gift to the groom, honoring Him all the more. Grace is what is offered and this life in Grace is SPECTACULAR.
"No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him." And the Word was with God.
are you with the WORD, the TRUTH, the ALMIGHTY, entirely given to HIM!??
SING A NEW SONG,
the NEW YEAR of your God given LIfe has started !!